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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 14, 2014

Stability of glucose in plasma with different anticoagulants

  • Manfred Fobker EMAIL logo


Background: People with hyperglycemia, especially those who are pregnant, depend on accurate blood glucose measurements for correct diagnosis of diabetes and monitoring. Glycolysis after blood draw, however, decreases glucose concentrations in blood that is collected at room temperature in the absence of a stabilizer. Cold temperatures (4°C) inhibit glycolysis; but prompt cooling and processing of each blood sample in the cold is difficult to achieve in routine clinical practice. Therefore, preservatives are used to stabilize glucose during blood collection and processing procedures that are performed at room temperature. This study examined the effect of different anticoagulants (EDTA, heparin, oxalate), with or without glycolysis inhibitors (NaF, citrate), on the stability of glucose in plasma samples – obtained from blood that was collected and stored at room temperature for up to 24 h.

Methods: Venous blood was collected from 60 volunteers; each donor blood sample was divided into six tubes, each one containing a different anti-glycolysis–anticoagulant composition. Terumo VENOSAFE Glycemia tubes contained NaF/citrate buffer)/Na2EDTA; NaF/Na-heparin; and NaF/K2oxalate. Sarstedt tubes contained NaF/citrate; NaF/Na2EDTA; and K2EDTA. At 0, 2, 8 and 24 h, plasma was obtained for glucose measurements using the Glucose Hexokinase and Glucose Oxidase methods, and the ADVIA® 1800 Clinical Chemistry System.

Results: Both methods demonstrated minimal glycolysis by 24 h (<3.8%) for the three Terumo VENOSAFE Glycemia tubes, and the Sarstedt S-Monovette GlucoEXACT tube that contained NaF/citrate. Glycolysis was higher in tubes containing NaF/Na2EDTA-alone (11.7%) and K2EDTA-alone (85%).

Conclusions: Terumo VENOSAFE Glycemia tubes (containing NaF/citrate buffer/Na2EDTA; NaF/Na-heparin; and NaF/K2oxalate) and the Sarstedt S-Monovette® GlucoEXACT tubes (containing NaF/citrate) are suitable for shipping venous whole blood samples to the testing laboratory within 24 h at room temperature.

Corresponding author: Dr. Manfred Fobker, Center of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, Building A1, 48149 Muenster, Germany, Phone: +49 2 51/8348701, Fax: +49 2 51/8347225, E-mail:


The author would like to thank the students of the MTLA school in Münster who donated blood for the experiments and E. Schneider and V. Shalhoub, PhD, Siemens Inc. for help in the preparation of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest statement

Author’s conflict of interest disclosure: The author stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article. Research funding played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

Research funding: This work was supported by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics GmbH, Eschborn, Germany.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.


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Received: 2013-12-4
Accepted: 2014-2-13
Published Online: 2014-3-14
Published in Print: 2014-7-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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